Thursday, July 28, 2005
Statue with pigeon and yellow roses in the Place Adolphe Chérioux. This little park is in one of our favorite neighborhoods in the 15th arrondissement. The town hall for the 15th is nearby.
This building, facing the park mentioned above, is the kind of place where Tom and I wouldn’t mind owning an apartment. We’d prefer the one with the bigger balconies, near the top.
Carefully shaped shrubs in the Place Adolphe Chérioux lead to the little kiosque that houses the park’s guardian. Here is a professional photographer’s view of the park. I notice that several schools are named after Adolphe, who was a member of the town council for the 15th. He lived from 1847 to 1934. Many of the buildings on this park were built in the 1930s.
I’ve been walking around this neighborhood for years now, and I’m getting to know some familiar faces and personalities, even though I don’t know their names. There are beggars here and there, of course, and I see a few more of them on market days (Wednesday and Sunday mornings in our neighborhood). Two of these habitual mendicants seem to be of the neighborhood, and they’ve been here for years. I notice older people giving them coins. They are treated with courtesy and respect. I give them money, too, now that I “know” they are okay.
One is a woman,
probably only in her 40s, but her long hair has gone white. She is trim, and always dressed stylishly
if somewhat shabbily. She does not
appear to be a drunk. Every once in a
while, I see her looking mildly disturbed, muttering to herself. But usually she looks okay, or even almost
normal. She has a strange quality that
I have seen only in schizophrenics. I
lived near a group home for schizophrenics in
The other local mendicant is a man who is probably in his late 60s. He is a bit short, and a bit chubby. He has gray curly hair and a thick dark mustache. His face has leprechaun qualities. I think his eyes may even twinkle. He probably drinks too much. Yet he remains pleasant at all times. Neighborhood people stop not only to give him coins, but sometimes to chat with him. He sits on the sidewalk near the Monoprix (small department store plus supermarket) or a nearby ATM, where the sidewalk is roomier. He has a sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve that he puts on the pavement in front of him. On the paper, words are printed that say something like “coins so that I can eat.” It is hard to read the words because there are always coins scattered on them. Sometimes he asks me for coins as I walk by. Other times he doesn’t seem to recognize me, and he says nothing. But then I surprise him by putting some coins on his plastic covered paper. His head snaps up, he looks at me with a big smile, and says “thank you, madame, thank you very much.”
in the zany 5th arrondissement, some jokester has been covering
all the plaques with the names of the streets with stick-on plaques that have
those same street names in Latin. It
In fact, the 5th